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    Naval Medical Forces Atlantic Supports Navy Medicine Operations Around the Globe

    Evacuees from Afghanistan at NAS Sigonella

    Photo By Chief Petty Officer Ben Farone | 210830-N-OB360-0076 NAVAL AIR STATION SIGONELLA, Italy (Aug. 30, 2021) Lt. j.g....... read more read more



    Story by Tia Nichole McMillen 

    Naval Medical Forces Atlantic

    PORTSMOUTH, Va. (September 12, 2021) – For the last month, Naval Medical Forces Atlantic (MEDLANT), surged support to Operation Allies Refuge, Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) missions, aiding humanitarian assistance in Haiti, and planning and executing mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for military personnel at Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Commands (NMRTCs) from Mississippi to Bahrain.

    Operation Allies Welcome. MEDLANT deployed more than 119 personnel to support Operation Allies Welcome (OAW) in Sigonella, Italy; Rota, Spain; Manama, Bahrain; Fort Pickett, Virginia; Camp Upshur, Quantico; Fort Dix, New Jersey; and Camp Atterbury, Indiana. Overseas, U.S. NMRTC Sigonella stood up three large medical and dental tents, providing routine, acute, and emergent care to evacuees. To date, U.S. NMRTC Sigonella conducted rapid antigen COVID-19 testing for 660 travelers, and completed 150 medical support encounters over 48 hours. U.S. NMRTC Naples, a 40-minute flight away, surged support to Naval Air Station (NAS) Sigonella and provided 28 active duty personnel, who brought medical supplies and foldable beds. NMRTC Sigonella’s Navy Medicine Readiness Training Unit (NMRTU) Bahrain provided more than 700 volunteer hours for local OAW efforts. The unit provided direct care for more than 230 patients, and provided visual assessment to more than 2,400 Afghan personnel. NMRTU Bahrain’s staff optometrist is serving as a highly-needed translator, connecting Afghan personnel, American medical staff, and Bahraini medical staff. NMRTC Rota registered more than 2,400 Afghan personnel at three aid stations, conducting more than 1,150 medical encounters in 11 days, including caring for 48 pregnant patients. NMRTCs Beaufort, Bethesda, Charleston, Cherry Point, Great Lakes, New England, Patuxent River, Pensacola, Portsmouth, Quantico, and Navy Marine Corps Public Health Center also deployed assets in support of the operation. Stateside, NMRTC Portsmouth staff are providing high-quality, compassionate care to Afghanistan personnel aboard Fort Pickett and at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth. With a current census of nearly 6,000 evacuees and an expected increase reaching 10,000, NMRTC Portsmouth Sailors are able to conduct 225 immigration screenings per day. Currently, NMRTC Portsmouth is providing safe, high-quality care for a critical refugee pediatric patient and supportive care for the patient’s family.

    Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA) Mission. MEDLANT deployed 23 personnel from NMRTC Bethesda in a medical support team to Lafayette, La., in support of U.S. Army North’s mission to send military medical teams to hospitals across the U.S. that have been overwhelmed with COVID patients, at the request of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as part of the Pentagon’s COVID-19 response. U.S. Navy physicians, nurses, and respiratory therapists are currently helping the Lafayette community by relieving pressure on local hospitals and expanding Ochsner Lafayette General hospital with four doctors, 14 nurses, and two respiratory therapists. These healthcare professionals are specially trained to work in the Emergency Department, ICU, and medical-surgery wards. Because of this support, the hospital is currently able to staff an additional 16-18 beds.

    Aid to Haiti. MEDLANT deployed a team of 13 personnel as part of a forward deployed preventive medicine unit (FDPMU) to provide support in Haiti. FDPMUs are multi-disciplinary public health platforms that offer a wide range of public health services including microbiology, industrial hygiene, entomology, disease surveillance and threat assessment, hearing conservation, and food and water safety. An FDPMU team can be prepared to deploy rapidly and sustain force health protection services by bringing and using detection and diagnostic equipment as well as real-time analytical capabilities. The FDPMU is also an extremely flexible preventive medicine asset and is typically tailored to meet mission-specific requirements. This particular multi-disciplinary FDPMU team is comprised of three officers (an entomologist, an environmental health officer, and a preventive medicine physician) and three enlisted preventive medicine technicians. While there, the team provided pest and disease vector control, and food and water risk-mitigation support.

    Military COVID-19 Vaccinations. On Aug. 24, the Secretary of Defense directed the military service secretaries to immediately begin full vaccination of all active, reserve, and National Guard members of the Armed Forces. MEDLANT NMRTCs are actively working to complete this mission by coordinating with the area commands to expeditiously administer the vaccine. NMRTCs and specific, fleet-centered Branch Health Clinics (BHC) coordinated with U.S. Fleet Forces representatives to stand up daily shot exercises at mass vaccination centers located in Norfolk, Virginia; Jacksonville, Florida; and Groton, Connecticut. NMRTCs Camp Lejeune, Cherry Point, and Beaufort are coordinating closely with U.S. Marine Corps counterparts for mass vaccination execution. All MEDLANT NMRTCs are hosting mass vaccination clinics for service members. These clinics will have sufficient staffing, appointments, and vaccines to inoculate all unvaccinated service members with minimal wait times.

    “It’s an incredibly busy and important time to be in Navy Medicine,” said Rear Adm. Darin K. Via, commander, MEDLANT, and senior market manager of the Tidewater Market. “Our obligation to operate as effectively and efficiently as possible, to remain agile and responsive to changing requirements, and to manage change so that mission critical functions are never compromised, requires that we continually seek new ways to streamline and optimize our infrastructure and business practices—and this mission requires an all hands effort. Whether surging support to help Afghan personnel or aid Haitians after a devastating earthquake, Navy Medicine is ready, agile, and responsive.”

    Naval Medical Forces Atlantic, headquartered in Portsmouth, Virginia, provides well-trained medical experts, operating as high performance teams, to project medical power in support of naval superiority. Led by Rear Adm. Darin K. Via, the command ensures the warfighter is medically ready; makes certain that medical forces are manned, trained, and equipped to meet the operational mission; and increases the survivability of those who go in harm’s way.



    Date Taken: 09.15.2021
    Date Posted: 09.15.2021 18:33
    Story ID: 405363
    Location: PORTSMOUTH, VA, US 

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